Part 295: Last swordsman / The battle at Ryudou Temple
She runs across the hallway to corner the skull mask.
The fifteen meters between them have been reduced to five.
Saber should be able to close in with one step and slash her enemy along with the skull mask.
He uses projectile weapons because he knows he will be no match at close range, and he retreats because he does not want her coming near him.
Although not as fast as Saber, the skull still retreats with the speed of a running beast.
He slithers across the floor, not slowing down even at the corners.
Does he have eyes on the back of his head, or is the mask on the back of his head?
Assassin steadily retreats from his opponent, maintaining the distance between them.
Like Lancer, Saber has protection against projectile weapons.
Lancer reads the course of the projectile attack using the sound of cutting air and the enemy's murderous intent.
Saber uses the sound of cutting air and her own instincts.
"Imperceivable attacks" are not much of a threat against heroic spirits.
It is those attacks that cannot be blocked, even when detected and understood, that are the fatal ones.
In that regard, Lancer's lance is appropriate to be called a Noble Phantasm.
A weapon that always strikes the heart cannot be blocked merely by knowing about it.
If one is to oppose that demonic lance, one must
Prepare a shield overwhelming the magical energy of the lance,
have great enough luck to change the fate determined by the lance,
or prevent him from using the lance in the first place.
Compared to that, Assassin's daggers are easy to manage.
They can be fatal if they strike any vital points, but they are no different from throwing stones.
Having used up his supply of daggers, Assassin finally stops.
The enemy that did not want her to come close has stopped.
There is something for sure, and an ominous feeling surrounds Assassin.
This is no situation where she can step in without care.
"Have you given up, Assassin?"
Saber knows it is best to kill Assassin now, but she takes a step back in spite of that.
She should not advance.
The instincts she has sharpened over the years that have kept her alive for a long time.
Those instincts are screaming.
Do not advance.
Stay away from the deep darkness.
I was ready to be killed in one blow, so why are you not coming any closer?"
Saber does not answer and raises her sword a bit.
She points her sword at her enemy.
There are seven meters between them. It will take two steps to get close enough to strike.
As a swordsman, she must close in on her opponent.
But she has a secret technique that can be used at all ranges,
though it can be used only once
Assassin's black cloak flutters.
He has no idea where the wind is coming from.
"Hah, so you do not want to talk to me? Well, talk is voluntary. Let me talk as I wish."
Assassin's voice is strong and clear, in contrast to his appearance.
Saber narrows her eyes, thinking that his voice is similar to that of Lancer's.
"But how did you repel them? I threw my daggers so that you would not be able to see them. Were you able to perceive them?"
"I could not, but I could read their course. I would not be using this sword if I were afraid of what I cannot see."
The skull laughs in agreement.
What can he do, throwing black daggers at an opponent armed with an invisible sword?
Assassin keeps on laughing, being displayed with the great difference in the strength of their Noble Phantasms and their levels as heroic spirits.
"I see. So I was never a match against you.
I am an Assassin, after all. I cannot be expected to match other Servants. We are beings that lurk in the shadow. There are no heroic spirits appropriate for this role."
"Therefore, our role is to assassinate. We are failures that are only specialized in killing the Masters and not the Servants.
Well. In that regard, there is only one target for me.
Do you understand, Saber? My actions were all to kill your master."
"Exactly. My master is welcoming your master.
Even though you have separated me from him, he will soon feed Zouken's worms if you do not hurry."
Light emanates from Saber's sword.
Or rather, the golden sword is revealing its true shape.
Music: Footsteps of Destruction
"Oh! So you were hiding your sword with the curse of the wind. I see, you can attack me with mere air pressure from where you are standing. There is no need for you to step into the land of death."
The black cloak sinks.
The prey he was supposed to lure in turns out to have a projectile attack.
There is no place for schemes now.
If Saber intends to kill Assassin without coming close, then he must close the distance himself to kill her first.
"Our positions are reversed now. Will you step into Invisible Air?"
"What a terrible woman, telling me to jump into a swarm of locusts. Yet a dragon's fury will soon be unleashed well, this is a dilemma."
The skull mask crawls on the ground.
It looks like a spider on a wall.
The compressed wind becomes a swirl of vacuum, about to be released at Assassin.
He must be insane.
Does he think he can survive the fatal whirlwind simply by lying on the ground?
"Well. This should be the end no matter what. Let me talk before that.
You said you can beat me one-on-one, correct?"
Saber raises her sword.
He cannot withdraw even when he is talking.
Saber is staring at Assassin.
Even if Assassin were to teleport, she would kill him before it even took place.
"That is why you drew me away from your Master. You were correct to protect him from me."
Her sword is raised above her head.
With the attack poised to strike, Assassin crawls even lower.
Video: Wind vs. Shadow (mirror)
"But did that decision include protecting yourself?"
An inquiring voice.
"I am in a hurry. Farewell, Assassin."
Saber replies with a single attack.
The windstorm is like a heavenly dragon, its serpentine body winding about to devour its prey.
There is no chance of defense or evasion.
This is like Lancer's lance. This is a blow that cannot be blocked unless one has more magical energy than Invisible Air.
Assassin's magical energy is far short of Saber's.
The only way for him to survive the attack was to prevent Saber from releasing it.
An attack aimed for the neck.
Saber repels it at once, and the black figure vaults overhead to land behind her.
At the same time,
The "ominous presence" she has been feeling has covered the ground beneath her.
"Well. You were unfortunate in two ways, Saber."
The shadow expands.
The mud-like pollution invades on her silver.
"One is affinity. A curse to ward off storms is a necessity for travelers in the desert. The only magic I know is the warding of wind. And"
Darkness swallows the pathway.
A shadow that does not even reveal itself in spite of the white moonlight.
She sees it dimly, through the haze of her fading consciousness.
"That's right, Saber. The other is that you chose this place as the battlefield. You should have known something ominous inhabited this place."
She cannot even hear Assassin's words.
She would disappear in a matter of seconds.
This shadow swallows Servants.
Her body detests it before her fading mind.
She does not care how.
She has to escape, even if she has to use all her magical energy.
Only her feet have been engulfed.
If she fights with all her power, she can still break free.
Even if she may lose most of her magical energy and both her feet, escaping this shadow is the top priority now.
"No. You will disappear here, Saber."
The shadow is not her only enemy.
The skull, watching Saber get swallowed, is Death that finishes her off.
"Sofrom the start "
"You said you could beat me one-on-one. Yes, that was your mistake. You are alone, but there are two on my side. I merely had to distract you."
The shadow keeps invading.
" ! Ahguh, ah"
Her existence rots from her feet.
She cannot feel her toes or her feet.
Her legs are already something that does not exist in this world.
"Servants cannot oppose al-layl, the true night. All the more if you are a proper heroic spirit. Even I, one who is close to it, get my magical energy drained if I touch it. A genuine like you should lose consciousness just by touching it.
But that would be a shameful waste. My goal cannot be accomplished if I let you disappear. I shall take your heart."
"Is it strange? I have run out of daggers, and I cannot go near the shadow. Do you think it's impossible for me to kill you?"
Murderous intent lights up in the skull.
Faint traces of magical energy gather in his right arm.
Video: Cursed Arm (mirror)
Assassin's right arm is a stick.
A deformed arm without a hand cannot be used as an arm.
It cannot hold a dagger, nor can it be used to strike someone.
But now, that arm bends.
With the snap of breaking bones, it flaps like a tattered wing.
It is an abomination.
What a long arm.
The clubbed stump at its end was actually the elbow.
The arm was folded back at the elbow, with the hand stitched to Assassin's shoulder.
Saber's mind freezes.
It will reach.
That arm can reach her.
It will reach her and rip out her heart.
His arm flaps, sending a shudder through her body, and
The cursed arm is thrust like a lance.
A sound of cutting meat and gushing blood.
Her blood drips onto the floor, staining the shadow in crimson.
Madness leaks out from the skull mask.
The outstretched arm is stained red.
After finishing its job, the arm folds back to Assassin
And is severed at the elbow.
No matter how cornered she may be, Assassin's Noble Phantasm is not enough to kill Saber.
As she has blocked Lancer's lance, which reverses cause and effect, she cannot allow herself to be defeated by this cursed arm.
But that is her last act of resistance.
She has put the power to escape into the attack.
She has no power to escape now, and even if she did, it is too late.
The ominous presence now emanates from within herself.
The shadow has invaded her legs and is now up to her waist.
She is becoming a part of this darkness, which swallows up even the moonlight.
Theneverything is too late.
I don't know how he did it, but if he really did recover from that state, it's more on a level of restoration than recovery.
It's not just healing a wound.
It takes great magic to restore a piece of one's body that has been lost.
Thenisn't this called immortality?
I can't charge at Zouken, nor can I retreat to follow Saber.
If Zouken is immortal, a scrap of wood will never be able to match him
"Will you try to kill me, or will you go after your Servant? Either way, nothing starts until you move."
Something is squirming around the old magus as he speaks.
No, it's not just his surroundings.
The darkness itself is moving, blocking the moonlight.
I can tell, even though I can't see them.
The darkness is probably swarms of worms.
The walls of this temple are covered in something darker than darkness itself.
This space is filled with the sound of creeping worms and the smell of rotten meat.
"Why do you hesitate? Your little alliance cut me in half only yesterday. Did you not cooperate with Tohsaka specifically to kill me?"
It's obvious that he is enjoying this.
I can't fight off thousands of worms with just this stick.
I'll be swallowed in those worms once Zouken gives the order.
I might be able to escape if I sprint for the exit.
They are just worms, even if it is a horde of them.
It should take them more than a few seconds to kill a human being.
"All right, I shall wait as long as you want.
You can believe in Saber's return and wait here, try to kill me with that weapon of yours, or shake off my worms and try to escape outside. You can choose how you want to die."